Yasalur forest officials siphoned off funds: RTI activist

An RTI activist has alleged siphoning off funds by Forest department officials of Yasalur forest range in the taluk. The officials have allegedly pocketed lakhs of rupees by preparing fake bills and vouchers.

RTI activist Chandrashekar has blamed Mariswamy, the previous  Range Forest Officer, and other staffers at the Yasalur forest range for the gross irregularities.
Chandrashekar claimed that bills and vouchers showed payment was made to daily wagers, who were involved in preventing poaching and for driving away elephants into the forests.

As per the evidences available, department has paid Rs 32,120 in January 2015,  for four labourers from Bisile village for controlling poachers menace in the forests, whereas no one was used for the purpose, he added.

It may be mentioned that a four-member committee was constituted in each village to prevent poaching activities.

One among them H K Kumaraswamy of Hadlugadde village, who was allegedly paid Rs 8,030, is now working as a tipper lorry driver in Mangaluru.

The forest officials is said to have taken the signature of H D Ganesh, (who is the current president of Bisile Forest Committee), on a voucher for paying wages for erecting solar fencing.

Similarly, signatures were taken from Ningegowda of Bisile village and H K Dharmegowda of Hadlugadde village. However, they claim innocence on receiving any such wage.

Likewise, the names of Channaiah, Puttaiah, Jagadish and Chandra are also mentioned as the team members. In reality, they reside in a village at a distance of 40 km from Bisile, once again casting aspersions on the wages, Chandrashekar said.

While an amount of Rs 32,120 has been sanctioned during January 2015, the available documents speak otherwise, as the wages were paid during December 2014.

Expensive shed

Similarly, another set of bills have been prepared showing an expenditure of Rs 1.99 lakh (Rs 1,99,969), spent on daily wages for labourers involved in the construction of a shed. The shed is nothing but four walls with asbestos sheets as roofing, which will not cost more than Rs 30,000, Chandrashekar added.

A bill has been made in July 2015, for erecting boards near Bisile beauty spot and other places, whereas there is only one board, that was installed a decade ago.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, DFO Ganesh Bhat said ‘Bisile Forest Committee president Ganesh has lodged a oral complaint over the phone. If fake bills were submitted and allegations of funds being swindled turn true, it would be recovered and stern action would be taken against the guilty. A report would be submitted to the higher officials in this regard,” he added.

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